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Multiple communication tools boost young adults' relationship with dad

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

LAWRENCE - Still looking for a Father’s Day gift? Send dad an email.

Research at the University of Kansas found the more communication tools young adult used with their parents, the more satisfied the children were with the relationship.

Jennifer Schon, doctoral student in communication studies, is available to talk about her research in young adult and parental communication. Schon surveyed adult children between the ages of 18 and 29 about how often they communicated with their parents using landline phones, cell phones, texting, instant messaging, Snapchat, email, video calls, social networking sites and online games.

She found that on average adult children used about three channels to communicate with their parents. And most relationships saw a modest benefit when a channel of communication was added, especially if a parent’s communication skills were lacking. Schon’s research has been published in the journal of Emerging Adulthood.  

Dads tended to use fewer channels of communication and communicated less frequently and for shorter amounts of time than mothers.

“Fathers don’t use technology to foster relationships the way that mothers do,” Schon said. “On cell phones in particular, it was much easier for young adults to reach mothers than fathers.”

Schon also found that dads didn’t use Facebook and text messaging as much as moms. So, she said, adult children might have the best luck expanding their communications through an older technology, such as email.

To set up an interview with Schon, contact Christine Metz Howard at 785-864-8852 or cmetzhoward@ku.edu.